Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Visual perception

Visual perception is a fascinating subject.  Just within the last few weeks, I came across a news article that heralded Enchroma's development of glasses which may help correct some forms of color blindness.
I hope this is only the beginning of developments which will help that.  I once knew a lady who drove around in a car that was a remarkable teal color.  She said her husband came home and told he had bought a car in a lovely brown.  I think something like 8% of men are colorblind (much rarer in women), so this is an issue that affects a lot of the population.
Colorblindness is a physical condition in the eye itself, but our visual perception can be affected by other things as well.  I was just scanning through some pictures I had taken recently.  I had taken a few of Caleb when he was outside with his pellet pistol.  I had showed the pictures to him on the camera view finder.  However, when I just now looked at them on my computer file, I got a chuckle because I saw them a little differently.

We're seeing rare birds here.  How are things looking in your world?


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Camellia in bloom!

I thought I had better snap some pictures before the blooms freeze tonight.

This fine bush started as just a little sprout my sister pulled up from the bushes growing at her house.
It's a beauty!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Find a five-petaled bluet

All across the yards in the neighborhood, there are bluets by the score this time of year. 

The ones that bloom here are shorter and tend a little more toward purple than the Quaker Lady bluets that grew around my home when I was a youngster.  I like the Quaker Ladies best.  Bluets often have 4 petals, but my sister informed me that some have 5.  We thrilled to finding a five-petaled bluet like finding a four-leaf clover.  I noticed a bluet with 5 petals right by my sidewalk yesterday. 
Lucky me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pruning happy

I've been pruning several things this week...

...the nandina
...a few magnolia limbs that hung over the path

...the sycamore

...the osmanthus fragrans
...a few apple limbs

...even the privet that was growing on the other side of the fence!  There was a privet that had grown under the fence.  Most of it grew on the other side since that was toward the sun.  I had leaned over the fence as far as my short self could reach and lopped off a branch or two.  I suggested to Caleb that he might be able to reach farther and get more of it.  He suggested the new pruning saw might be able to go through the fence to cut it all off.  Splendid idea!  And one I could do myself.  (According to our survey, the fence is actually a couple of feet on our property, so the privet was technically on my property if the survey is correct.  I could have asked my neighbor for access, but this was less bothersome.)
It was on my property, but I decided to burn the evidence, nonetheless.

Just give a gardener a new saw...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On the road

I had quite a bit of driving to do today to fetch the car from the shop.  I tried to make the most of a long, tiring day.  To me, there are many things of interest along the way.  I found this stone house interesting.

An added bonus to the trip was that I was close enough by my parents to stop by for a visit.  Daddy had been out for lunch with friends and was still in a dress shirt and sports coat.  He was relaxing in the recliner, playing a game on his laptop. 
I convinced him to build a fire in the heater, and I soon was enjoying the cozy warmth it provided.  Mom fed me her homegrown veggies and some homemade oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies.  Of course, I wanted to see all the flowers she had blooming.  I was glad I had taken my camera with me.  Here is a good sampling of her flowers.  She not only has a green thumb, she is amazingly industrious.


A very tiring day, but a very nice visit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Golden bells and Bradford pears

My golden bells are in bloom now.  Golden bells are a wonderful, carefree favorite.  I got mine as cuttings from a friend.  The yard was so bare here when we moved in.  Getting that row of golden bells along the bank was something I did within the first few years.
Though I don't have any ornamental pears in my yard, I enjoy the borrowed view of the Bradford pears in the neighborhood.  I especially like the contrast between the white blossoms on my neighbor's pear and the very dark green of my cedar and tea olives. 
The next several weeks will bring a succession of blooming ornamentals.  I remember the March when Caleb was about 8 years old.  We had a long drive to church, and we passed the time by making rhyming riddles.  The riddles were inspired by the plants that were blooming or beginning to leaf out.  I remember being quite impressed by one that Caleb made up about a weeping willow, though I don't remember now exactly how it went.
Here's an example of what one of the riddles might have sounded like:
The shape of our yellow blossoms
Our name tells.
You won't hear us ringing
But we're ______ ____
I hope you are taking time to look at the spring flowers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Three cars and a headache

The last couple of months have been a transportation headache.
Car #1: obliterated, strands dh
Replacement Car #1: first day--leaky radiator, strands dh; a week later two bad axles, bad brake pads, bad hoses; another week later an issue that is solved by getting two new tires
Car #2: bad water pump (windshield is cracked while at the shop or while ds or dh is driving it)
Car #3: bad battery

Replacement Car #1: loses power and strands dh
Car #2: issues starting, will go to the shop when Replacement Car #1 gets out of the shop

I've been on "fetch" duty for these strandings, all while watching the mileage on car #2 go higher and higher.  I wanted to make a point to look a the odometer when it read 345678.9  However, I think that occurred when I was on my way to pick up dh from the hospital after his wreck.  It's understandable that my mind was too occupied to notice the odometer.
Yesterday, when I went to fetch dh yet again, my odometer turned a little numerical "palindrome": 351153.  Again, I was otherwise occupied with paying attention to an unfamiliar destination and traffic and a setting sun.  I will have to say the sunset was beyond glorious last night.  I was headed in a westward direction through some lovely, bucolic countryside.  The panoramic views and vivid colors of the sunset were so intense, I felt my state of being altered.
I've been without transportation quite a bit of the time over the last several weeks.  Of course, there is more than plenty of work here to keep me occupied.  We're keeping the mechanics occupied, too!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

In the March sunshine

Today I have daffodils and periwinkle blooming.  It's a lovely time of year.
I spent some time strolling around the yard today, enjoying the sunshine and blue sky (and looking at all the things that need to be done).
I looked across the way to a neighbor's yard and saw the sun glistening off the leaves of a magnolia that I gave away.  The magnolia was given to me--just a seedling.  I gave it to a neighbor.  After he moved several years ago, the yard became overgrown.  When I saw a guy doing yard work, I went over and pointed out the magnolia to him so that he wouldn't cut it down.  I wasn't sure he spoke English because he just nodded.  He had a machete and was limbing up the Bradford pears.  (I was brave to approach him.) He must have understood because the magnolia has been growing beautifully ever since.
I hope the sun is shining in your world.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Breaking in the bow saw

The last few days I've been breaking in my new bow saw and pruning saw by giving one of the crepe myrtles a little TLC.  The new bow saw is making nice clean cuts. 

The little pruning saw is a little harder to get used to.  It is supposed to cut on the push and pull strokes, but it seems to resist being pushed.  (Ha!)  Anyway, it is enabling me to get in the small areas where a bow saw won't fit.

I removed some of the lower branches that were in the way of the path to the blueberry bushes.  I tried to thin out some of the center, and I tried to cut back one trunk that had rocketed toward the sky. 
There were lots of lichen-covered branches, which probably indicates the tree has been stressed (or maybe is just old?).  I've mulched with a ring of pine straw, so hopefully that will help retain a little moisture in this dry site.  The trees behind it are slowly encroaching.  You can see some pines behind it.  The one on the far right of the above picture is one I planted!  It makes me feel old (but pines do grow fast).  I thought if I could take out a few of the lower pine limbs, that might let in a little more light.  I could hear my mom saying, "You're making more work for yourself."  If you plant a tree and then have to cut the limbs, I guess you are making more work for yourself.  With the step ladder, I was only able to cut the lowest limb, so I might just leave it at that.  (My options are to enlist taller help or use the extension ladder; I'll probably just leave it alone.)
There was another pine just behind this one (that I didn't plant) that had a broken limb.  A day or two ago the evening sun was shining on the snag, and it caught my eye.

It must have broken under the weight of the snow a week or so ago.  There is an eleagnus thicket underneath, and I looked in vain to find the fallen limb.  It was a pretty good size.  Limbs can't just disappear.  Then I saw it had caught on a lower branch.  It almost looked like it was growing out of the trunk; I couldn't even see the broken end.  I took a hoe and was able to reach high enough to snag the little end.  A tug on that catapulted the big end over, and I did a two-step to get out of the way.
 New saws and same old triceps.  Same old triceps and new soreness.